Did you buy your mother a once-stolen necklace for Christmas? Or perhaps a purse that was previously lost and later recovered by police officials?
It may sound ridiculous, but millions of consumers bargain-shopped in new ways this past holiday season to save big money. Although many retailers are reporting weak sales results, some auction sites such as PropertyRoom.com reaped big profit.
PropertyRoom.com maintains the only nationwide registry available to the general public for recovering lost or stolen goods. PropertyRoom.com is an online auction site that works with over 1,300 law-enforcement agencies across the country. The site allows consumers to purchase merchandise that was previously stolen and that the agency was unable to return to the rightful owner. It’s like an eBay for stolen goods.
PropertyRoom.com had over 30 million page views in Dec. 2008 and over a million visitors, which was a 35% increase over Dec. 2007. Along with record traffic, the company saw a 25% revenue increase over last year’s holiday season.
It’s only natural that a business model backed by PropertyRoom.com thrives amid the struggling economic environment, selling high-quality goods at a fraction of the price. According to global Internet information provider comScore, 21% of consumers shopped at online auction sites and 46% of shoppers sought out less-expensive gifts this holiday season (complimented by another 37% who are spending more time researching deals online).
Everyone wins — well, except for the person who lost their goods in the first place.